Karen Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels—Arena and the first three books in the Legends of the Guardian-King Series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor’s degrees in biology and wildlife biology. Along with writing, she is a semi-professional watercolorist and has exhibited her work in a number of national juried shows.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
My salvation, which occurred in my senior year of college. I worked at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory in an office on campus with a Christian man old enough to be my father. I was not a Christian at the time. And very critical of those who were. Except for him. He was not a very talkative guy and couldn’t always answer my questions about his faith. Finally he invited me to his home to meet his wife and a friend of his who was well-versed in the Scriptures. For some unknown reason I agreed to come, thinking that whatever this friend had to say would be as silly as the rest of it. I went, certain the meeting would change nothing. Boy was I wrong! By the end of the gathering at my co-worker’s home I became a born-again Christian and on fire for the Lord, eating up all I could about my new faith, and telling everyone who would listen about what had happened to me. Not long after that, I ran into a classmate friend and told him about my transformation, only to learn that he was also a Christian. Six months later we were married and off to Northern Arizona where my new husband had a job with the Forest Service—one which left me at home with our dog and my typewriter. Suddenly I had all the time in the world to write and so I did, laying out my own experience with Christian salvation. Thus began Arena…
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
Callie and Pierce are kind of like me and my hubby. Callie resisting salvation, Pierce already saved when she meets him.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
Because readers can engage with stories, identify with the characters and in a way make themselves a part of the whole narrative. Also, it’s done privately. No one else knows what they’re thinking, how they’re leaning, but God does.
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
That the Christian faith is cool! That it gives one’s life meaning and purpose. That it’s not about us working to be better in order to be saved, but about what Jesus did on that cross so many years ago. Bear all our sins for us, because without Him there’s no way we could stand against the power of sin.
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
Oh my. Many, many of them. Zane Grey, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dean Koontz, Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, Robin Hobb, Kathy Tyers, C.S. Lewis, Richard Adams, Elisabeth Elliot, Michael Crichton, and C.S. Forester.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
My faith and world view are the foundations of my stories. Everything I write ties back to both. To me the only stories that matter are the ones that relate to our Lord and our relationship with Him. Even if He’s not necessarily referred to, any story about bad guys and good guys related to the conflict of the ages… Our Triune God and the fallen angels (and men) who oppose Him.
20th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: April 26, 2022
A Journey She Did Not Choose Will Change Her Life Forever
Transported surreptitiously to a terrifying alien world, with limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, Callie Hayes finds herself engulfed in a perilous battle for freedom–for her very life. After agreeing to participate in a routine psychology research experiment, she must unravel the mysteries shrouding her only route of escape or risk succumbing to the deadly deception of the Arena.
A mesmerizing journey through the treacherous terrain of a strange and terrifying world. A powerful allegory that will capture your imagination with its timelessness and aching familiarity.
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